President Grover Cleveland made Rufus W. Peckham his fourth, and last, appointment to the Supreme Court in 1896. Peckham had served for eight years on the highest court for the state of New York (the New York Court of Appeals).
Peckham will long be remembered for invoking the idea of "substantive due process" to invalidate a state statute regulating the hours of bakery employees. His opinion in that case aroused one of the most famous dissents in the history of the Court. Peckham took as his mission the separation of state powers from national powers and the separation of all government from individual rights. His was a daunting task, for as his colleague, Oliver Wendell Holmes observed, the major premise of Peckham's jurisprudence was "God damn it."
Peckham wrote frequently while he was on the bench but modern students of constitutional law find his reasoning "unfathomable" and the results reached by that reasoning "insupportable."